Somebody brace Terry Gilliam for impact. Hot on the heels of yet another delay for Gilliam’s well-chronicled, eternally troubled passion project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, news has surfaced that Disney is headed on a quest to La Mancha of their own with a live-action Don Quixote film.
The studio is developing an adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra‘s classic 1605 novel with producers Gordon Gray (Million Dollar Arm, Secretariat) and Billy Ray. Ray, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Captain Phillips and The Hunger Games will also pen the script.
Fully titled The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, Don follows Alonso Quixana, an older man in the Spanish countryside obsessed with tales of chivalry who loses his grasp on reality, refashions himself in the image of a valiant knight by the name of Don Quixote, and sets off “tilting at windmills” in search of justice.
THR reports that the plan is to reenvision Don Quixote with a tone that “recalls the madcap and fantastical nature” of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. That seems a fine comparison since those stories also follow an affable and courageous semi-madman in the form of Johnny Depp‘s Jack Sparrow, combining swashbuckling swordplay with the supernatural and fantastical.
In addition to Gilliam’s famously beleaguered project, Don Quixote has hit the big screen a couple times. Most notably with the 2002 TV movie that starred John Lithgow and Bob Hoskins and the 2015 adaptation Don Quixote: The Ingenious Man of La Mancha that premiered at Palm Springs International Film Festival. While it may feel like a bit of a harsh punchline that a major motion studio is putting the wheels in motion on this just as Gilliam’s long-running project suffers another blow, Gilliam has gone through hell and high water to get his version made, so I doubt a little studio competition will deter him. As for Disney, this is the latest live-action fantasy project in their rapidly expanding lineup.